Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Around the World: Back in Hong Kong

February 1, 1992

The flight to Hong Kong was a much more pleasant experience under Cathay's capable service.  Breakfast was heavily laden with croissants, coffee, fruit and a delicious omelet.

The flight arrived in Hong Kong airspace early, but with only one runway and two days before Chinese New Year, being early just means the plane gets to make more circles before landing.  Last time I flew into Hong Kong, it was evening and dark and I knew we were close to buildings but holy my-good-golly wow!  The lady sitting beside me has her eyes shut as tight as they'll close and is gripping the seat's arm rests for her life.  I admire her bravery and even more so, the precision required to get this plane to the runway.  I swear we landed with someone's laundry on the wing!

Welcome to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is pretty easy to get around, and as it is still a British colony, English is widely spoken and understood.  The hostel is cozy, basically a small apartment full of beds and a communal bathroom.  Both in the hostel and out on the city streets is a clear understanding that space is a precious comfort and very highly respected.

My hostel mates are friendly and invite me to accompany them for dinner. The streets are crowded, something I was worried about, not being a fan of crowds.  Fortunately, I have the advantage of height so I don't feel boxed in by the volume of people and very little obstructs my view.  My mates are using me as their beacon in the crowd, as my sun bleached blonde hair is easy to pick out amongst the dark-haired sea of people.

Hong Kong money requires my 7 times tables to convert.  Couldn't be something easy like 5 or 4 or 2 or 10. No.  Seven!  Bloody hell!  My British hostel mates have to divide everything by 13.  I suppose I shouldn't complain.

My hostel mates have agreed to join me for Dim Sum tomorrow. 

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"It is a curious emotion, this certain homesickness I have in mind. ...We are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known."
~Carson McCullers